Modern day Quakers have a lot to talk about it, and now they’re doing just that on YouTube.
The last day of 2013 I posted an afterthought that included a link to a video teaser about QuakerSpeak. The trailer announced that QuakerSpeak “seeks to give viewers worldwide an experience that is entertaining, informative, inspiring, challenging, inviting, unifying and collaborative,” so it’s no surprise that it’s made possible through a collaboration of Friends Journal, Quaker Voluntary Service and Friends General Conference, and is directed by Quaker songwriter Jon Watts.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing what this team would put together, and I’m impressed with the first three of the weekly interviews. Appropriately, the first video is titled “How Quakerism Began.” In fewer than five minutes, Guildford College professor Max Carter summarizes the beginnings of Quakerism in 1640. Max’s mini-history lesson reminds us that Quakerism emerged out of the chaos in England that was trying to address disparities in English society.
Any concerns I had that George Fox, one of the founders of Quakerism, wouldn’t approve of QuakerSpeak if he were here today were squelched by Max’s portrait of this man. At age19, Fox left the Church of England seeking a direct spiritual experience. After his own mystical encounter with the Divine, Fox shared his message of relying on the inner teacher instead of outward leaders. In Fox’s day, spiritual and religious messages were spread by word of mouth, one by one, two by two, or occasionally when a charismatic speaker gathered a curious crowd. Perhaps YouTube is the 21st Century equivalent.
After that first offering of QuakerSpeak, I was delighted with the second video of Traci Hjelt Sullivan’s “The Faithfulness Lecture.” Traci shares from her own experience of being faithful, especially to a leading to speak in worship.
If you access the videos through the QuakerSpeak website, you’ll find a transcript of the video, additional resources about the topic, queries, and a place to add your own comments. With Traci’s “The Faithfulness Lecture,” the site offered links to information about Quaker weddings as well as how to find the nearest Friends meeting. And the questions following Traci’s video have stimulated my own thoughts about being faithful to a leading:
1. What are some of the most daunting leadings that you’ve gotten? What was your reaction to receiving a nudge that would take some courage?
2. What are some excuses that you come up with when you are feeling resistant to the leadings of the Spirit?
3. What are some tools that you have developed or could develop as a reminder to “live up to the Light that thou hast?”
Last week, former Earlham College teacher Trayce Peterson talked about how to support young people find their voices and speak truth in her segment, “Student Activism as Prophetic Ministry.” Her message is particularly relevant on the heels of Max Carter’s discussion about the young George Fox finding his voice and speaking truth in the 1600s.
I hope you’ll become a regular viewer. QuakerSpeak makes it easy; you can “subscribe” for free and receive e-mail notices when each video is available. I can’t wait to see which Quaker speaks next.